The World Bank is made up of two unique development institutions owned by 184 member countries - the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA). Each institution plays a different but supportive role in the mission of global poverty reduction and the improvement of living standards. The IBRD focuses on middle income and creditworthy poor countries, while IDA focuses on the poorest countries in the world. Together they provide low-interest loans, interest-free credit and grants to developing countries for education, health, infrastructure, communications and many other purposes.
The Bank’s work focuses on achievement of the Millennium Development Goals that call for sustained development and the elimination of poverty. To do this, the Bank concentrates on building a favorable climate for investment, jobs and sustainable growth, and on investing in and empowering poor people to participate in development. A key role of the Bank is to provide analysis, advice and information to member countries so they can deliver the lasting economic and social improvements their people need.
The World Bank collects and disseminates statistical data related to development, and helps its member countries improve their statistical capacity to support development processes. Major statistical products of the World Bank include World Development Indicators, statistics on external debt, published in Global Development Finance, and the Atlas of the Millennium Development Goals. The World Bank hosts the Global Office for the 2011 round of the International Comparison Program. The round will produce new estimates of purchasing power parities world wide.
Support for statistical capacity building is guided by the Marrakech Action Plan for Statistics. Major global partnership efforts supported by the World Bank’s Development Grant Facility include the Health Metrics Network, PARIS21, the International Household Survey Network, the Accelerated Data Program, the 2010 World Program of Population Censuses; and the UNESCO Institute of Statistics. The World Bank also works with the IMF to implement the General Data Dissemination System.
At the country level, assistance with statistical capacity building is addressed through the World Bank’s strategic support for client countries. As well as using regular investment products of the Bank, countries may utilize specially designed programs for statistical work to access investment resources and expertise.
The first of these, the Trust Fund for Statistical Capacity Building, is a multi-donor fund that provides grants to developing countries to help improve statistical systems. It is especially useful for countries that wish to develop a National Strategy for the Development of Statistics (NSDS).
The second is the STATCAP lending program, which provides a mechanism to help countries access regular World Bank investment products to support statistical capacity investment, including concessional credits and grants for countries eligible for support from the International Development Association. A requirement for investment through the STATCAP program is that countries have a comprehensive National Strategy for the Development of Statistics. Typical activities of a STATCAP project are improvements to the institutional framework; development of human capacity in statistical work; improvement of statistical and physical infrastructure of statistical services; improvement of information and communication technology; and data collection, analysis and dissemination.
The third is a catalytic trust fund – Statistics for Results Facility (SRF) which provides grants to support implementation of NSDS’s. The SRF is in it’s pilot phase and has provided grants to 5 countries.
Additionally, the World Bank helps countries implement specific household survey programs, such as the Living Standards Measurement Study surveys, and the Core Welfare Indicator Questionnaire surveys, that provide data to measure and understand poverty in developing countries.
Received September 2010